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Fairer furnishings: people-friendly designs for our homes

The Greenredeem team are big fans of Fairtrade Fortnight (Monday 24th February — Sunday 8th March 2020), so for each week of February on the Greener Living blog, we’re featuring an industry in which fair trade is flourishing. This week we’re looking at fair trade furniture.

When we buy fair trade, we help producers achieve higher environmental standards

Last week in our fairer travel blog post, we learned how few of us connect fair trade practices with stronger environmental protections. The fact is, by ensuring producers receive fair compensation for their hard work, we give them the financial breathing space that allows them to:  

>> Reduce the use of polluting pesticides and insecticides

>> Switch to more efficient, water-conserving production methods

>> Protect local wildlife and revive native biodiversity through reforestation

Tune in next week to find out how fairer trade is bringing delicate ecosystems back to life… 

…in the meantime, get good and stylish with fair trade furniture for your home

As with clothes, the price of furnishings is no guarantee of a better deal for the people who produced them. See expensive designer gear as a case in point! 

Whatever the price, by choosing fair trade you can be sure that your style isn’t harming people or the planet. 

Handmade fair trade wall tiles from Mexico

Fairly traded furniture: wall tiles

Bag these for your home: Handmade Ceramic Mexican Tile (£1.60 per tile)

These traditional Talavera-style tiles are created in a dazzling range of patterns and colours by fairly paid artisans in San Miguel de Allendem. The city in central Mexico known for its dramatic colonial architecture.  

If you couldn’t live with the intensity of a wall or backsplash of these treasures, how about buying a few and putting felt pads on the reverse side to make a set of handy coasters?

Glass wine coolers and decanter

Fair trade furniture: glassware

Bag one of these for your home: Ngwenya Glass Fairtrade Wine Cooler (£38.50)

While you’d be forgiven for assuming such practical elegance was an example of cool Scandinavia mid-century design, these pleasingly sensible wine coolers and swooping decanter are the products of a Fairtrade-certified glassworks in Swaziland. 

Fair trade and hand blown from 100% recycled glass, these wine cooler and matching tumblers are an eco-stylist’s dream!

Two multicoloured rugs hanging over a rail

Fair trade furniture: rugs 

Bag one for your home: Paper High Fair Trade Handmade Recycled Rag Rug (3ft x 2ft, £15; 6ft x 4ft, £35)

These cheerful rugs deliver a triple whammy: chic, recycled and fair trade.

Pieced together by hand using leftover pieces of fabric from the Indian garment industry, funds from the sale of these rugs support rural community projects in Rajasthan. 

Carved wooden bowl filled with plums

Fairly traded furniture: display bowl

Bag one for your home: Fair Trade Mango Wood Bowl (£18)

Hand-carved from hard-wearing, sustainably-managed mango wood, this bowl will last you or a loved one a lifetime. 

Small but elegant. This dish would look lovely filled with fresh fruit, a cluster of candles as a centrepiece for a meal or even a batch of once-again fashionable pot pourri

While it will always be more sustainable to decorate our homes by updating what we have. For example by reupholstering, repainting or upcycling, or by investing in good quality second hand or refurbished items. When we buy new with fair trade certification we can at least be reassured that we’re not contributing to poor treatment of workers or the environment. 

Which home furnishings would you like to be able to source from Fairtrade producers? Share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter

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